Review: Lenovo ThinkBook 15
My plan is to approach this review in the same fashion that I write my car reviews. There are plenty of people out there that can talk about RAM and CPU and Inter CORE i7 processors. I’m nerdy, but not that nerdy.
What I really want you to know is what this Lenovo Thinkbook 15 is like to live with. As such I’ve written this review on the very unit that Lenovo were good enough to lend me.
It is very hard to argue with the build quality that you get when you buy a Lenovo computer. Yes, it feels and looks pretty much all plastic but it’s actually anodised Aluminium and that makes a difference. All you really need to know is that the process of anodising aluminium increases resistance to corrosion and wear. Given that this is very much a work-horse – I think that’s a big plus.
The Lenovo ThinkBook 15 (as tested) weighs 1.87kg which for the physical size of the laptop isn’t really that bad. The comparable unit from Apple weighs at least 2.0kg depending on your configuration.
A really nice touch on the Lenovo ThinkBook 15 is the full-sized keyboard with number pad. It does mean that the main QWERTY keyboard is off-centre with the centre-line of the unit however, Lenovo have reduced the size of the keys on the number pad by 28% which means you rarely run out of room whilst typing. You can see from the photo below how they have achieved this.
The only irritation of this is that the Backspace key is smaller and you occasionally (at first) hit the Num Lock key by mistake. Gove yourself about an hour and your muscle memory will sort you out.
The trackpad is generous in size and unlike other makes, the Lenovo ThinkBook does a good job of turning off the track-pad sensitivity whilst you are typing. There’s nothing worse than a wandering cursor whilst you type. The trackpad can also be configured for left and right mouse button actions and the sensitivity has almost limitless variations.
Another feature on the top-side of the ThinkBook 15 is the fingerprint power button. Essentially the same idea from smartphones, this allows fast signing in or unlocking of the unit after waking.
In terms of ports for connecting things this laptop does a pretty incredible job down both sides of the base. On the left you have a recessed LAN port, an HDMI port, a USB 3.1 (always-on) port, two USB-C ports (1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 and 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2/Power connector) and a traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. There’s a microphone hole and then a hard drive light and a power light.
On the right you have locking slot, a Slim tip AC adaptor (that strangely doesn’t come with the laptop), another USB 3.1 port and an SD Card slot which is actually a four-in-one interface that’s compatible with MMC, SD, SDHC, and SDXC.
Next to the SD Card slot is another hidden USB slot which I think is a master-stroke. This USB slot means you can attach the small USB dongle for a wireless mouse and not have to worry about it being lost or knock about as you will inevitably be pulling this machine from a bag on a regular basis. Bravo!
The screen on the Lenovo ThinkBook 15 is very well proportioned with only a small border on each side. The screen measures 15.6″ across the diagonal and is 1920×1080 pixels in size so even running software like Adobe Photoshop or Canva will be easy. That is also the same pixel density as 1080 HD video so for the movie lovers, this is an ideal laptop. Screen brightness is very good at 250 nits and with the anti-glare feature the screen is easily read in bright sunlight.
On top of the screen there is a 720p camera with Lenovo’s signature sliding cover just like you find on their Smart Display with Google Assistant. In this new world, the quality of the web-cam on all computers will now be far nearer the top of feature lists than in the past.
Laptops are not necessarily known for their sound given the very limited space that engineers have to work with. The full sized keyboard on the ThinkBook 15 means that speakers on the top-side are out of the question. That being the case I wasn’t expecting much. My go-to playlist from Niki Dé Saint proved me wrong. The sound is very good – but headphones will always be better.
Lenovo claim up to 11 hours battery time so you know that in perfect conditions that’s a solid day’s work if you’re careful.
We run the laptop on a number of occasions on battery power and found that the power reserve would plummet from 70% to 40% and then run very well to flat. We saw battery life from 7 hours to 9.5 hours. Playing with the screen brightness and the backlit keyboard all contribute to a longer-lasting battery.
Charge time is around 100 minutes from flat. If you use the laptop whilst charging that does impact the charge time and so within a couple of hours you should be back at 100%. We only had the USB-C power adapter so we can’t report on the charging performance of the power adapter or the USB port.
Processor & Storage
As I mentioned in the introduction, the Lenovo ThinkBook 15 comes with either Core i5 or i7 Quad Core processors running 1.6 GHz or 1.8GHz respectively.
RAM starts at 8GB and can be doubled to give 16GB, and the screen starts with an Intel UHD Graphics card and can be upgraded to an AMD Radeon GDDR5 (available with Core i7 CPU only) which will certainly please any gamers out there.
There are plenty of options in terms of storage with this unit running a 500GB SSD drive and it can be expanded with an additional HDD. The SSD keeps the performance really high although the cooling fan can be a little noisy when you’re making the laptop work a bit harder.
Wear and Tear
My sense is that this will be a hard-working and hard-wearing laptop that will last for years. It’s loaded with the latest version of Windows 10 so upgrades and performance will be long-lasting and reliable.
There are very few nooks and crannies that dirt and dust can creep into and as its a Lenovo any repairs will be easy to come by and won’t cost the earth.
Would I Buy One?
Absolutely. This is a well built, well specified laptop from one of the best makers. There’s plenty of connectivity options that will future proof this machine and even its base configuration is above par with most competitors.
Pricing & Specifications
Pricing starts from $1,400 and goes up to around $1,800 depending on your specification.